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Wedding bells ring for Ukrainian couple gifted ceremony, reception in North Carolina

Several businesses came together to make their wedding a reality.

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.C. — A couple, who are refugees from Ukraine, said “I do” Saturday night in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. The wedding was a gift to the newlyweds whose nuptials were put on hold because of the ongoing war.

“Oh, I’m so happy, it’s amazing. It’s such a beautiful day,” said Anastasia Panarin, the blushing bride. 

It was a winter wonderland wedding at Carolina Country Weddings for Anastasia and her now-husband Max Panarin.  From the first look to exchanging vows and rings, the couple said it was a dream. 

“I think I needed to cry because she was so beautiful,” said Max. 

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The two met at an orphanage in Ukraine and were cared for by GLOW Mission. Dar Draper is the executive director and the couples' sponsor. She is also behind gifting the couple this wedding. 

“They were engaged for like two years, and they would have been married if they stayed in Ukraine, but because of the war they couldn’t go back,” said Draper. “I said 'we can get you married here.'” 

She served as the mom for both the bride and groom and her husband officiated the wedding. 

“They are two orphans from Ukraine who don’t have parents and we get to serve as parents for them and be their family here,” she continued.

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The Panarins performed a choreographed dance to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” and included Ukrainian traditions in their reception.  

Anastasia said her country is very much in her heart. 

“It’s really hard for me because I love Ukraine. I love Ukrainian people,” she said. 

Several businesses came together to make their wedding a reality. Everything from the venue, cake, photography, and wedding dress was all donated. Savyy Leigh Photography and Stephanie A. Morrison with Candid Dreamer Photos captured the magical moment for the couple. They are also being treated to a surprise honeymoon by the ocean. 

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“We are thankful for everyone and more for Dar and Andrew. She supported us and helped us before America, before the wedding and they give us a chance and changed our life,” said Max. 

A fairy tale wedding as the couple begins their new journey as husband and wife.  

Contact Jesse Pierre at jpierrepet@wcnc.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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